PHOTO: Scientists finally solve mystery of giant floating blobs found off the Norwegian coast

These large gelatinous spheres made scientists scratch their heads. Photo: Ringvold et al. / Scientific Reports / Robert Fiksdal
Advertisements

In 2019, divers discovered what appeared to be giant hovering blobs floating in the shallow waters off the coast of western Norway. Now, scientists have finally found the origin of these mysterious gelatinous spheres.

The jelly-like blobs, first found at Magerholm in Storfjorden near Ålesund, are translucent except for a dark streak running through them. They measure about 1 meter in diameter, and at the time of discovery no one knew what to make of them.

According to the Daily Mail, 90 blob sightings have since been recorded both around Norway and also in the Mediterranean although they have only been sampled recently.

In Norway, they have been recorded from Nordland County in the north to Østfold County in the south, according to an article published in Scientific Reports.

Thanks to DNA testing scientists have finally figured out what the mysterious blobs actually are.

Locations where these gelatinous blobs have been observed in the NE Atlantic Ocean, including the Mediterranean Sea (red dots). The green dots indicate locations of DNA tested spheres. Photo: Halldis Ringvold / Sea Snack Norway

Mystery solved

Turns out the blobs are actually sacks containing thousands of tiny squid eggs belonging to the broadtail shortfin squid, or Illex coindetii.

The squid is relatively common, and the average mantle length is between 18 to 20 cm in males and 25 to 27 cm in females. This means that the blob is in fact much larger than the squid itself.

According to 9News, the female squid makes the sac out of its own mucus. By the time the frail sphere has disintegrated, the baby squids are ready to be born.

In over half of the spheres there is a prominent dark streak present. Photo: Ringvold et al. / Scientific Reports / Tapio Salakari

What about the dark streak?

The dark streak running through the middle of the blob, found in about 55% of spheres, is thought to be ink ejected from the mother squid during the reproduction cycle. This can be indicative of how far the embryos have developed as the ink is thought to indicate that they have been freshly spawned, according to Scientific Reports.

After a while, the whole sphere, including the streak, will start to disintegrate as the embryos develop.

Another theory is that the dark streaks serve as a defense mechanism, giving off the impression that there is a large fish inside the blob in order to scare off predators.

Others have discussed whether the streak is a strengthening structure to support the sphere. Scientists note that a significant disadvantage with the streak is that the otherwise transparent blob becomes more easily visible.

Source: #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayTravel

Do you have a news tip for Norway Today? We want to hear it. Get in touch at info@norwaytoday.no

Advertisements

Be the first to comment on "PHOTO: Scientists finally solve mystery of giant floating blobs found off the Norwegian coast"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*